Thomas Mark Newpher

Thomas Mark Newpher

Assistant Professor of the Practice of Psychology and Neuroscience

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine 2006


Dr. Newpher teaches and advises for Duke's Undergraduate Studies in Neuroscience program.  He also directs the Summer Neuroscience Program of Research in the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.  Dr. Newpher earned his Ph.D. in molecular biology from Case Western Reserve University. He then came to Duke to receive postdoctoral training in the Department of Neurobiology, where his research focused on identifying key molecular mechanisms that underlie learning-related synaptic plasticity.  

As the director of the Summer Neuroscience Program, Dr. Newpher provides mentorship and professional development opportunities for undergraduate research fellows.  Within the Undergraduate Neuroscience program, he instructs several courses, including Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Contemporary Neuroscience Methods, Fundamentals of Neuroscience, the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, and Neuroplasticity and Disease.  His courses utilize a variety of team-based learning activities to promote critical thinking skills, foster collaboration among students, and create an engaging, student-centered classroom experience.  Dr. Newpher’s current research focuses on identifying teaching practices that increase student learning and improve classroom dynamics.


Synaptic plasticity, learning and memory, neuroscience education, scholarship of teaching and learning

Ng, Minna, and Thomas M. Newpher. “Comparing Active Learning to Team-Based Learning in Undergraduate Neuroscience.Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education : June : A Publication of Fun, Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience, vol. 18, no. 2, Jan. 2020, pp. A102–11. Open Access Copy

Newpher, Thomas M., et al. “Regulation of spine structural plasticity by Arc/Arg3.1.Semin Cell Dev Biol, vol. 77, May 2018, pp. 25–32. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.semcdb.2017.09.022. Full Text Open Access Copy

Chi, Richard J., et al. “Role of Scd5, a protein phosphatase-1 targeting protein, in phosphoregulation of Sla1 during endocytosis.Journal of Cell Science, vol. 125, no. Pt 20, Oct. 2012, pp. 4728–39. Epmc, doi:10.1242/jcs.098871. Full Text Open Access Copy

Grötsch, Helga, et al. “Calmodulin dissociation regulates Myo5 recruitment and function at endocytic sites.The Embo Journal, vol. 29, no. 17, Sept. 2010, pp. 2899–914. Epmc, doi:10.1038/emboj.2010.159. Full Text Open Access Copy

Shaked, Natan T., et al. “Parallel on-axis holographic phase microscopy of biological cells and unicellular microorganism dynamics.Applied Optics, vol. 49, no. 15, May 2010, pp. 2872–78. Epmc, doi:10.1364/ao.49.002872. Full Text Open Access Copy

Newpher, Thomas M., and Michael D. Ehlers. “Spine microdomains for postsynaptic signaling and plasticity.Trends in Cell Biology, vol. 19, no. 5, May 2009, pp. 218–27. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.tcb.2009.02.004. Full Text

Newpher, Thomas M., and Michael D. Ehlers. “Glutamate receptor dynamics in dendritic microdomains.Neuron, vol. 58, no. 4, May 2008, pp. 472–97. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2008.04.030. Full Text

Lu, Jiuyi, et al. “Postsynaptic positioning of endocytic zones and AMPA receptor cycling by physical coupling of dynamin-3 to Homer.Neuron, vol. 55, no. 6, Sept. 2007, pp. 874–89. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2007.06.041. Full Text

Newpher, Thomas M., et al. “Novel function of clathrin light chain in promoting endocytic vesicle formation.Molecular Biology of the Cell, vol. 17, no. 10, Oct. 2006, pp. 4343–52. Epmc, doi:10.1091/mbc.e06-07-0606. Full Text

Newpher, Thomas M., and Sandra K. Lemmon. “Clathrin is important for normal actin dynamics and progression of Sla2p-containing patches during endocytosis in yeast.Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark), vol. 7, no. 5, May 2006, pp. 574–88. Epmc, doi:10.1111/j.1600-0854.2006.00410.x. Full Text


Newpher, T. M., and S. K. Lemmon. “Clathrin accumulates with endocytic factors at the cell cortex upon disruption of the actin cytoskeleton in yeast.” Molecular Biology of the Cell, vol. 15, AMER SOC CELL BIOLOGY, 2004, pp. 5A-5A.

Selected Grants

The Endocytic Machinery of Dendritic Spines awarded by National Institutes of Health (Research Associate). 2003 to 2011

Regulation of excitatory synapses by local zones of endocytic cycling awarded by National Institutes of Health (PI-Fellow). 2008 to 2011

Fellowships, Supported Research, & Other Grants

Impacts of Collaborative Learning in STEM awarded by Bass Connections (2020 to 2021)

Research Seed Grant awarded by Charles Lafitte Foundation Program in Psychological and Neuroscience Research at Duke University (2019 to 2020)